Patriots say they followed rules, accept no blame

Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:50pm EST
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By Mark Lamport-Stokes

(Reuters) - The New England Patriots said on Saturday they had followed "every rule to the letter" and accepted no blame for using footballs that were under inflated in their AFC championship win over the Indianapolis Colts six days ago.

The victory earned the Patriots a spot in the Feb. 1 Super Bowl against the defending champion Seattle Seahawks.

The National Football League is investigating why balls used by the Patriots against the Colts were under inflated.

"I believe now 100 percent that I have personally, and we as an organization, have absolutely followed every rule to the letter," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told a news conference.

"At no time was there any intent -- whatsoever -- to try and compromise the integrity of the game. We try to do everything right and err on caution."

Belichick said he had spent a lot of time this week experimenting with the preparation of footballs for games and had discovered that atmospheric conditions could affect ball pressure.

"When the footballs go out on to the field in the game conditions, whatever those conditions are ... that's where the measurements would possibly be different than what they are in a controlled environment," the coach told reporters.

"We found that once the footballs were on the field for an extended period of time ... they were down approximately 1.5 pounds per square inch. So atmospheric conditions as well as the true equilibrium of the ball are critical to the measurement.   Continued...

Jan 18, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick celebrates with Lamar Hunt Trophy while being interviews by CBS announcer Jim Nantz after the New England Patriots beat the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports